Here fishy fishy fishy. Gone whale watching.

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Here fishy fishy fishy. Gone whale watching.

Posted by: Kim Steutermann Rogers
Destination: Maui , Kauai
Feb 04, 2013

Travel is hazardous to fingernails.

I've only just sat down in seat 6B, and I've already ripped off two, one from each hand. But I don't mind. I've come to see my ragged fingernails as something else--a sign that I am once again doing that thing I love: traveling.

Besides snagged fingernails, there are several other reasons why Hawaiian Airlines non-stop flight #508 out of Lihue, Kauai to Kahului, Maui is a tad annoying.

First, the flight departs mid-morning, after the early morning rush and before the lunch time one. That means there are no lines. No wait at TSA to have my ID and boarding pass examined. No wait for bins to unpack my plastic bag of toothpaste, facial wash and sundry liquids. No wait to dig out my laptop from the nether regions of my backpack. No time to untie my hiking shoes. No time to re-pack my ID and boarding pass in its proper place so I don't have a minor panic attack later when I think, for the briefest of seconds, that I've left it behind in a plastic bin.

I hate not being prepared when I hit the conveyor belt at TSA. Well, truth be told, I hate that today I am the person I silently chide on busy days.

The second surprise that makes me grimace is that TSA has plenty of time to give me the whole run-through of no liquids, no water, no melted chocolate. Remove your shoes, belts, laptops and everything from pockets. That includes the sunglasses atop your head, mam.

Mam?

A few TSA agents know me by face, but this is a new guy, young, and I wait patiently as he goes through his spiel. When he pauses, running through the canned speech in his head again, making sure he checked everything off his mental checklist, I do it for him. "I think you got it," I say and push my bins from the metal rollers onto the rolling belt.

The other surprise is they are nice.

TSA?

"Careful," a TSA regular says of Audrey, my traveling companion. “You almost squished her.”

Audrey gets all the attention today, as usual. "Cute," I hear people say as I pass. If I didn't like Audrey so much, I'd be jealous.

I had about 30 minutes before my flight started boarding. If I was lucky, the newsstand would have peanut butter mochi. It’s not a staple product for sale in the small, corner shop. The cashier places the order when her manager isn't around, because, for some reason, he doesn't want to carry it. Even though it always sells out. But I’m not lucky today. There was no peanut butter mochi.

I’m headed to Maui to go whale watching for five straight days, because as the captain of my whale watching boat last year said, “Whale watching is a cumulative sport.”

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