Thursday, November 28, 2013

Vomiting all over yourself in your kayak is always a sign of a successful vacation!

52 Gems of Reflection, #45
My favorite vacation since being married was definitely our honeymoon. We went to the big island of Hawaii, and we had such an amazing time. I don't want to get into too much detail because we did so many fun things and we would seriously be here all day talking about all of it, so I will just share a few of my favorite memories.

One of the first days we were on the island, we decided to check out this beach called the black and green sand beach where supposedly there was a family of sea turtles on the beach. The only problem was that we would have to travel about 5 miles over lava rock to get to it. Luckily, we had rented a Jeep Wrangler, and Zach was certain that it could handle the terrain. Man, was that a ride! We were laughing hysterically the whole way there because the Jeep was jerking us all over the place. We only stayed a few minutes on the beach (as it wasn't very big) and had to travel back over the lava rock again. Later on, when we were back on solid ground, we saw that the license plate in the front of the Jeep had been flipped up and twisted around. Haha. That Jeep took a serious beating that day, but it was such a fun experience. lol. Good times.

Another one of my favorite days was our trip up to the north side of the island to see Waipio Valley. Man, what a beautiful place! First off, the descent into the valley is so steep that we had to put the Jeep in 4-wheel drive and throw it into low gear. Apparently, there were cars that hadn't made the descent in the past because there was evidence of wreckage at the bottom of the entrance to the valley. There was some seriously breathtaking landscape in the valley though, with a couple of stunningly beautiful waterfalls, and a gorgeous beach. There is also a small farm village in the valley, and as Zach and I were traveling slowly along one of the narrow roads, a horse came and stuck its head in the driver-side window. Haha. The experience was definitely worth the two-and-a-half-hour drive (each way), that's for sure. If we ever make it back to the Big Island, Waipio Valley will definitely be on our to-do list.

My favorite memory to reflect back on is our kayaking adventure at two-step. Zach has a friend who lives on the Big Island (he is the guy Zach replaced in The Las Vegas Philharmonic) who took us snorkeling a few times. One of the snorkeling extravaganzas was a popular spot where you literally take two steps down on some rocks and then you are in like 20 feet of water that is lined with the most beautiful coral, which houses tons of gorgeous tropical fish. We snorkeled for a while, but I stayed in the bay (close to the beach) as I have a paralyzing fear of sharks, and simply getting into the water  at all when it was so deep was definitely an accomplishment for me.

After a while of snorkeling though, I started to feel a little nauseated. I think it was because the snorkeling gear we bought was not top quality, and after breathing in the vapors from the salt water for so long, it started to take a toll on me. Anyway, I had to stick my head out of the water for a bit and remove the snorkeling gear to try and suppress the nausea - and finally, after a while, I was able to calm down and regain my composure. We snorkeled for a bit longer and then started packing things up to head out.

As we were packing up, however, we saw that a school of dolphins had come into the bay. They weren't coming right up to the beach where all the people were snorkeling, but Gary suggested we get our kayaks and go out into the bay to see them. We unloaded the kayaks and headed out to the middle of the bay, but by the time we got there, the dolphins were gone. Gary suggested we take advantage of the kayaks since they were already out, and started to lead us out of the bay into the open water. Gary was in a single-man kayak and Zach and I were in a double-man one.

Anyway, Gary took us around the bend a ways then we turned around and started heading back toward the bay. As we rowed, we delighted in some casual conversation, and Gary knew about my fear of sharks, so he started trying to comfort me with humor, saying that I had nothing to worry about because they are MAN-eating sharks. Hehe. After a few minutes, something clicked in my head, and I suddenly started thinking about how deep the water was below us. I could no longer see through the clear water to the bottom, like we could in the bay. When we looked down, all we saw was deep blue, so I knew it had to be deep. I made the comment that I really hoped the kayak didn't tip over while we were out there in the open water - and suddenly, as if the finger of The Almighty came down the second after I finished speaking, the kayak tipped and Zach and I went over into the water.

We had our life jackets on, so I was never worried about drowning, but when I came back up to the surface of the water, I was suddenly overwhelmed with fear of what was beneath us. I became completely paralyzed and couldn't move. I just sat there bobbing in the water with my toes curled up us high in front of me as I could get them, and like a helpless little child, I started to cry. Reflecting back on the situation, I feel so silly - borderline ridiculous and embarrassed even - but I was legitimately terrified and I couldn't move. Zach says that I looked like a little girl in a horror film - you know the one - unable to find her parents, she stands in the middle of the chaos, helpless and crying. lol. I know - pathetic. I laugh at myself about it now, but I was so emotionally traumatized by the experience that I couldn't even tell the story for the longest time without getting teary-eyed again. lol.

Anyway, I finally had to force myself to suck it up and make myself move. I knew that there was no way that Zach and Gary would be able to lift me back into the kayak without me doing my part, and I didn't want to just sit there in the water like that any longer. So, yeah - while still crying like a baby, I mustered every ounce of courage I had and threw my weight forward so I could start swimming over to the kayak. Zach and Gary did help me climb back in, and once I was back out of the water, I felt so silly. The guys were really gracious about everything though - I think Zach just finally realized the severity of my fear.

After a few minutes, we started rowing back to the beach, and as we entered the bay, we saw that the dolphins had come back. At first, there were just a few that were swarming around us. Before long, though, we had dolphins from every direction swimming and dancing in the water. It was so incredible. There had to be 40 dolphins. They would swim toward us, dive down under the kayaks, and then jump up out of the water on the other side. Some of the dolphins actually swam so close to us that we could reach out and touch them. It was amazing. We stopped rowing our kayaks and just sat there in the water watching them.

Suddenly, Zach started feeling nauseated (probably for the same reason I had previously), and said, "Oh man, I think I am going to throw up." Almost as soon as he finished speaking, he leaned his head to the side and started vomiting. He didn't want to tip the kayak over again, though (bless his heart), so he tried not to lean too far over and ended up throwing up all over himself. Poor guy. It's funny though because now that it's all over, we can tease each other about what happened that day. He teases me about crying like a baby when I fell in the water, and I tease him about throwing up all over himself. Haha.

Hawaii was such an amazing experience; though, and I seriously hope we can make it back with our kids one day. :)

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