Goodbye Hawaii, Hello Auckland!

Auckland, New Zealand

Kia Ora my friends,

Due to another long airplane trip and a 22 hour time difference this post is a little delayed ... or early? I don't know anymore. But here we go! I am in Auckland, New Zealand.

Before I forget the details let me recount the last day in Hawaii. I decided to take it easy by going kayaking ... proof that I am not all that smart. After sleeping in from the long day at the Polynesian Cultural Center I took a bus ride down to Kailua Beach and rented out a single kayak. As with snorkeling, the approach to going out in the open ocean on a kayak was as follows: “watch this brief safety video and then go do it.” I suppose it makes sense in a place where water sports are a year round activity. Fortunately, a man named Kirk, also a single kayaker, came to my rescue and offered to show me what to do. First, to drag the kayak the ten minutes it took to get to the beach. Then, how to get on the kayak while waves are pushing it back ashore … I was thrown back onto the beach several times. But in the end it all worked out all right and I was on my way to a bird sanctuary island a mile or so away.

A mile of inexperienced rowing is exhausting. Much like climbing Koko Head it was a test of endurance, will power, and fear of being stuck in the limbo between distant destinations. And once again, it was all worth it to get to the small island and look out in the distance at where I had started. The views were incredible, and I was able to see many of the birds on the island, specifically the shearwaters and the elusive pigeon (joking). We were also in luck because on the beach lay the endangered Hawaiian monk seal and her pup – a rare and beautiful sight. Following safety instructions we all kept our distance and took photos.

After about an hour on the island enjoying the crashing waves and the distant coastline it was time to return. And once again, a test of endurance and fear of being stranded, combined with the fear of paying the fee for a late return. Arriving back on Kailua beach at last, I was tasked with the labor of dragging my kayak back up the beach, putting the wheels back on, and then wheeling it back to the rental place. Good times! And then it was time to return home and pack for the next flight.

In the evening my gracious host René (HI RENÉ) and the other guests (HI AMANDA AND STEVE), who were also preparing to leave, all sat down to drink wine, converse, and say our farewells. It was a fun evening and a lovely send off. And I was off to catch my early morning flight to Auckland via Fiji.

On the way to Auckland I had some lovely conversations with other travelers from Sydney, New Zealand, and elsewhere in the world. We exchanged travel tips and shared stories. This social interaction is, I believe, the true advantage of traveling alone. A special shout out to the new friend I made sitting on the plane (HI ASHWANI) with whom I shared a long and very enjoyable flight and a most bogus journey through customs.

And just like that, I am now in Auckland, sitting in a café, drinking coffee, trying to stay awake, and making use of complimentary wifi. That’s all for now. Tomorrow the next adventure begins!

HAWAII PHOTOS HERE: https://goo.gl/photos/jtfinXKnzvf4WpgU8