The big island...  In the midst of our transition back from Vancouver to Portland and in the midst of starting another business, we also found time to run away for a little trip to Hawaii.  Jen and I had never been together (and the trips we had separately years back were anything but noteworthy trips that made us want to return)… but we also knew it deserved a second chance, and it seemed well overdue. We rarely travel by plane these days…it's a pricey luxury that rarely seems worth the expense when we have so much to explore within driving range (and so much we haven’t yet seen accessible by van).  We also know our years (hopefully many years) with our sweet Karma are numbered, so why would we choose often to go somewhere she can't be with us? But… that's not to say we don’t still have the drive to explore further afield and usually when it rises up in us it’s centered around a desire for vacations of long ago when every year’s 2-3week vacation was to somewhere warm and sunny, usually an island or beach surrounded by water and reef and where we would spend a large portion of every day either snorkeling along the surface of the water or diving beneath it.

When we first started downsizing and saving money for our trip almost 10years ago those trips were one of the first things (like snowboarding) that got put on hold in the interest of longer term goals.   Suffice to say, it's been a long time since all that started, and we’ve been feeling that urge again recently...

The last few years we've also watched our alaska airlines companion fare come and go unused and vowed to not let that happen again.  This time jen quickly pulled the trigger on a flight to the big island before we could change our minds and we couldn't be more thrilled that we did so!!

Life the last month has been pretty anxious and stressful (I won't get too deep into details at the moment, but suffice to say that a few of our friends and family members are going through tough times at the moment, but being emotional sponges and loving them so deeply...it seems to be taking it's toll on us as well.  Mostly our hearts pour out to them on a daily basis and it pains us that there isn't something more we can do for them as they battle sicknesses, illnesses, old age, etc.), and some time staring at the ocean (or the life and beauty beneath it) seems the perfect setting to recharge.

 Jen found a little place on AirBnB along the bay and we raced back to Portland with just enough time to catch a dear friend visiting town, drop Karma off at friends and make it to the airport for boarding.  Our place on the bay was exceptional.  We pulled in just at sunset and marveled at the red glow cast over the water setting the trees and home ablaze in an amber glow.  We settled in quickly and slept most of the night in a hammock overlooking the ocean before finally making our way to bed.

In the morning we explored both home and bay further.  The bay is huge but without access unless you happen to live or stay in one of the few houses here (or pay for a few hour snorkel trip in by boat).  The house itself was simple and lovely.  Exposed structure, native wood, no TV, no glass in the windows only bugscreens, no air conditioning other than the ocean breeze, no noises other than the crashing waves (until after dark when impossibly loud frogs chirp away most of the night). 

It was quiet and idillic, though a bit too large for us...  We had booked a two bedroom ceartain we could convince someone to come with us...but our plan somehow failed at every turn as our friends all had other commitments, plans or trips elsewhere.  Mental note to plan further ahead and ask everyone before booking.

We did as close to nothing for our 7 days on the island as 2 people could do.  A simple, slow and lazy lifestyle that rarely took us off the beach or away from the house looking over it.  It was perfect...

Mere steps to the beach from our back door and mere feet from the beach was a living reef with colorful fish and a few turtles playing near shore.  One in particular, who we named happy (for obvious reasons) never seemed to wander more than a few feet from shore which meant we could sit on the volcanic rock wall chatting, eating breakfast or sipping a sunset cocktail and still enjoy watching him flow back and forth with the waves as he tried to dislodge something tasty from a rock just beneath the surface.  Never ending entertainment!

We would also paddle kayaks across the bay each morning hoping for a sighting of the pods of spinner dolphins the bay is known for and snorkeling in the beautiful reef just offshore.  One morning we were lucky enough to encounter them and had what seems now only days later like an otherworldly experience.

Swimming with those magical creatures and floating just waiting for them to come back and forth by us for another fly by underwater.  Listening to their whistling and chirping and clicking and our hearts pounding from the excitement and beauty of the entire experience.  That was clearly one of those special moments that will stick with us long after the trip itself.

Much like looking into the eye of a baby whale in baja,  these visions are not likely to escape our memories any time soon!

All in it was a perfect trip, but I couldn't help but notice in the last day or two of our adventure that I also wasn't sad to pack up and leave.  Unlike the island and beach trips of long ago that would certainly have us weeping in the final days, knowing that we wouldn't have a similar experience for at least another year... we were ready to return.

We were excited to see our friends, excited for other opportunities and adventures and  were comfortable knowing that what lies ahead was just as exciting as what was there.  Many years ago when we started this whole journey of changing our lives one of our goals was to be just as excited to return home from a trip as we were to leave for one... I guess we've finally accomplished that goal! =)