Marines.Together We Served

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

On Vacay

             By the time you read this article my family and I will be back home from our vacation on the stunningly near pristine island of Kauai. Kauai is the seventh of the eight islands that make up the 50th state known as Hawaii.

Discovered by British Captain James Cook in 1778, he named the islands the Sandwich Islands. This was in honor of the Earl of Sandwich who was a benefactor in Captain Cook’s world-wide journeys. In the 1840s the original name of the islands, Hawaii, returned to common use and has stuck ever since.

The eight islands are Hawaii (The Big Island), Maui (The Valley Isle), Oahu (The Gathering Place), Kauai (The Garden Isle), Molokai (The Friendly Isle), Lanai (The Pineapple Isle), Niihau (The Forbidden Isle), and Kahoolawe (The Target Isle).

Last year my wife and I decided it was time for me to look at retiring from the pastoral ministry. The date we set for this is May 31 this year. As a way of thanking my family for encouraging and supporting me through my many years of pastoral and Navy chaplain ministry we made plans to bring our two girls, their husbands and grandkids, plus a niece for a week on the Garden Isle of Kauai.

We stayed in a cabana that had three bedrooms and was maybe a five minute walk to a rather secluded beach. The area where the beach is situated is called Malooa Bay. We discovered to our great delight, that it was on this beach where the TV hit series, Gilligan’s Island was filmed from 1964-67. We watched several of the episodes from Gilligan’s Island and easily recognized the beach area where we played with our 5 and 6 year old granddaughters in the surf and sand.

We split the time eating out and preparing our own meals at the cabana, so we were able to sample the various island eateries. Our favorite breakfast spot was the Kountry Kitchen. It was always packed with a mix of native islanders and the rest of us (mostly tourists). Their specialty is a huge macadamia nut and banana pancake. After consuming this monstrous pancake I asked the hostess if they had ever bothered to count how many of these they made in a year. She said, No, they had never done that, but I think I may have gotten them thinking about it. Isaura then asked them if anyone held the record for eating the most pancakes. The hostess said, Yes, a little pencil-thin girl ate three! Seeing the size of some of the men on this island, I was surprised one of them had not set the record. The hostess commented, “If the hostess in a restaurant is skinny, you don’t want to eat there. You want to eat where the hostess is fluffy, like me!” Then she grabbed a bit of extra girth around her middle. What a hoot!

I saw a sign advertising another place to eat. The sign was a small sandwich board set out on the side of the road. It was painted yellow with black lettering. It said, “Caution! Mexican Food Ahead on Right.”

We visited the Kauai Coffee Plantation, sampling the many roasted flavors available. It is located near the southern tip of the island and has been in operation for more than 150 years. This is a most see place if you make it to Kauai.

We drove to the Spout Horn which is a naturally formed work of nature that operates much like a geyser. Right on the southern shore line where a mass of lava one time cooled to form the earthen barrier for the sea, a hole down through the lava was solidified allowing the ebb and flow of the wave action to force both water and air up through this “horn,” spraying water for a considerable distance. It has been intentionally reduced from its original geyser because it sprayed salt water on the nearby plantations, ruining crops. So, dynamite was used to reduce the size of the hole, but the effect is still the same. Just along the water’s edge you will occasionally spot a green turtle floating lazily in the roiling waters. Looking a bit further out, we saw numerous whales making up several pods, blowing their own geysers, and every once in a while one happy giant denizen of the sea would leap clear of the water only to splash back into his watery home no doubt with a smile of pleasure on his orcan face.

Some of you are no doubt wondering if I played any golf on this trip. Well, Yes, I did. Since this was a family vacation, I only planned for one round of golf. I selected the Wailua Golf Course, a nice, yet challenging 18 hole public course. Several of the holes run down alongside of the ocean. The sand traps are huge and difficult to get out off if you were unfortunate enough to find yourself in one. Actually I was in at least six or more. Despite the off-shore winds and the deep bunkers, I still managed to shoot an 89.

I have much more to share about our vacay (slang for vacation), but that will have to wait until next week.

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