Outrigger Hawaii - Picture Perfect Getaway from Outrigger Hawaii on Vimeo.
I get asked all the time something like, "What are your favorite things to do in Hawaii?" Or, "I'm coming to Kauai; what are the must-see things?" Sometimes it's my friends who ask. Sometimes it's friends who ask for their friends. Sometimes, it's even my co-workers who know I write a blog and edit a website that shares all that information. But, still, they have to ask. In honor of Outrigger's Picture Your Perfect Hawaii sweepstakes, I am revealing my list here.
Let me first say that I am not a believer in lists. That is, other
people's lists. I make lists all the time. But I believe it's much more fun, much more memorable to make your own lists. My "Top Ten" list of favorite things to do around Hawaill will differ from yours as it differs from my neighbors'. The neighbor behind us has 8 kids; I have none. Our other neighbor rises before the sun to go surfing. I prefer to wait until the sun's light brightens my bedroom before dragging my body out of bed. Get the idea?
As the editor of OutriggerHawaii, I travel around the Hawaiian Islands. I get invited to special events. I get to interview special people. And I get to slip behind, sometimes, locked gates. I am happy to share a few of my favorite things. But I also encourage you to explore on your own, make your own discoveries and create your own list.
I'll start with the newest of the main Hawaiian Islands in the chain and work northwest to the oldest.
Hawaii (Big) Island:
This one is easy: lava flowing into the sea
. Most people usually think I mean the hike through Volcanoes National Park, but I don't. I broke my rule here. I got up before sunrise--long before sunrise--to hop aboard a boat and traverse the coastline in near darkness to see great chunks of lava plop into the sea. I could hear it sizzle. Smell the sulfur. Feel the heated water.
Another easy one: humpback whale watching
. Go in mid-February when there tend to be the most whales congregating in the Maui triangle. Don't just go once. Go again and again and again. As Captain Jill told me last week, "Whale watching is a cumulative sport." It's just like running a marathon; you have to get your miles in.
The story of the exiles at Kalaupapa
presses heavy. The tour around the settlement doesn't do it justice. How could it? There's too much history there. Too many stories. I recommend reading up on the place first. And make the entrance a journey, an experience, something that pushes your edges. I am referring to the famed Molokai mule ride
down the steep and narrow cliffside trail.
There is nothing like arriving at an island under your own power. On four occasions, I crossed the tempestuous Kaiwi Channel in a canoe to land at Waikiki Beach. Each 41-mile crossing from the island of Molokai was different. Each its own challenge. Each its own (sometimes hard to find) reward. My experiences competing in the annual Na Wahine O Ke Kai
means that every time I board a plane in Honolulu and take off toward the east, I stop what I am doing--which, usually means I put down the book I am reading--and observe the conditions in the channel. Is it 'nuking? Calm as a lake? Is a swell running?
I can't decide here. Is it the first time I hiked Kalalau with my husband and good friends Dianne and Tom to celebrate the Millennium? Or, the time I paddled Napali Coast in an outrigger canoe and that evening watched the full moon rise after the green flash of sunset. Maybe it was the time I Napali
Disclosure: This list may change at a moment's notice.
Good news: Outrigger has just launched its Picture Your Perfect Hawaii Sweepstakes. Enter
. And make your own lists. Care to share?