Thursday, February 9, 2012

Monday on the Water

Last Monday dawned sunny and glorious in Hawaii and we were all up pretty early because of the time change. I was excited to head to the beach first thing! [Disclaimer: When I look at the pictures on my camera from last Monday, I feel like it should be called "me" day. In my defense, Ross cut his foot on some coral pretty early on and it wouldn't stop bleeding, so he was content sitting on the beach and decided to take a lot of pictures, apparently. My mom took a pool day and my dad was in a meeting all day.]

The day started perfectly with floating yoga. That's yoga on a paddleboard anchored in shallow water. It's challenging at first, but by the second class I was ready to try a few more challenging moves. Planks were especially fun! I'd never heard of floating yoga before the trip, but now I wish every day could start with a relaxing practice bobbing on clear water, with sea turtles below and the sun warming your shoulders as it rises over the mountain!

After that, we went to my Dad's Board meeting breakfast and met all his compadres, which was fun. And breakfast on the beach is never a bad thing.

Ross and I spend the rest of the morning learning how to paddleboard. He cut his foot pretty early on, though, so being a loving and attentive wife I helped him bandage it up and then I left him alone so I could take surf lessons. Oops.

But. I'm SO glad I did it! The instructor and I headed out to where the waves were breaking (not far from shore) and he basically told me where to put my feet and he pushed my board into an oncoming wave. I didn't catch that one, but I did catch the next one remarkably easily. (I don't mean to make that sound self-righteous. I actually mean that it's surprisingly easy to stand up on the board with the wave's momentum holding it. Easier than standing on a paddleboard the first time.)

However, as the wave pushed toward shore, I quickly realized the instructor hadn't told me what to do next. So I leaned sideways and fell off on purpose. Bad idea. We were in very shallow water by then and I got slammed by a few waves before I was able to paddle back out! Apparently the correct thing to do is just to calmly sit back down on your board.

Speaking of paddling back out, that was the hardest part. The beginner's surfboard was wide and I was basically trying to propel myself against the current with the use of my wrists and hands. My arms wore out fast, as did the skin on my abdomen from being rubbed raw.

But it was worth it. One hour of unimaginable fun! I attempted 11 waves and caught 6! Granted, they were tiny waves and I couldn't control such a big board very well. But I never thought I'd take surf lessons and now I want to save up for our next tropical vacation to do more of it!

While we were waiting for waves, my instructor was telling me how he was raised in Waipio Valley in a family of surfers and fire dancers. He said his uncles just took him out one day and he learned how to surf in 2 days when he was 6 years old.

How cool would it be to have such a sense of place? Identity, sense of purpose, I guess these are all things I'm looking for and I really envied him that. Well that, and the fact that he was born and raised in Hawaii! It's cool how people here seem to be judged by what the know (like the knowledgeable coffee farm tour guide) or their abilities (surfers), and not how they dress or do their hair or wear their clothes. I'm sure those are vacation ideals speaking and I by no means saw the day-to-day Hawaiian life, but still. It's very different from, say, New York City. Very refreshing.

After that adventure, we all ate some lunch and took some down time. I was worn out! But eventually I missed the sunshine and Ross and I ventured back out for a quick bike ride before dinner.

The sun sets like clockwork here so after our ride I booked it to a nearby cove and got some pictures.

I'm pretty sure those sunsets would never get old. After that stunning show, Ross and I ate dinner with my parents at Norio, the resort's sushi restaurant.

I ordered a salmon skin roll, but the highlight of the meal was definitely the Fairmont roll, which we ordered to share: tuna, cucumber, avocado, green onion, sesame seeds, and honey miso aioli. With raw fish, I can take it or leave it. But oh, freshness makes all the difference. This was positively buttery without even a hint of 'fishiness.' I could go for another right now!

Good food, good company, and a very good night's sleep following the day's excitement!

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