I inhale the strong, sweet fragrance of the freshly-picked tuberose and orchid lei, which decorates my neckline with its lavender and cream petals. The slender palm trees brighten the sky with their green fronds, which filter the light as I peer down the coastline of the sandy shore. The brilliant aquamarine waves ripple with a peaceful roll as I lick the saltwater from my lips, while being engulfed by the soothing swells and distant sound of trickling water. The golden sun illuminates the sky with gorgeous hues of fuchsia and tangerine, reflecting its beauty off of the Pacific Ocean before descending behind the horizon.
As we travel along O‘ahu’s East End, the breathtaking panoramic views of Makapu’u Lookout entice my family with its magnificent sea cliffs and turquoise waters. The wind whips my sister’s hair, and my long locks sail across my smile as we race through our journey across the island to the Windward Coast of O‘ahu. Nu’uanu Pali Lookout captivates everyone’s attention with its vast greenery and expansive history.
Cupped fingers propel through the water in long fluid motions, as I head farther and farther from shore. Heart racing, waves crashing, energy intensifying. Thousands of strokes have prepared me for mere seconds of sheer exhilaration. Then, it’s go time — quickly paddling toward the shore, royal blue water rushing on either side, energy blazing deep from within. Elevating from the board, balancing with my hands out, I glide on the water. I’m one with the wave, surfing in Hawaii, an experience I only dreamed of achieving.
Harness tightened, headset on, camera recording, I’m ready. Taking off into the still air, the propellers chopping, we fly over cascading waterfalls and black sand beaches. My parents, sister, and I admire the K?lauea Volcano in awe as our helicopter circles around this smoking shield volcano and molten lava. Experiencing Hilo from a helicopter is an adventure well worth taking, as the view from the top is unlike any other.
Snorkeling along the coral reef in Kona, multicolored fish and tropical sea creatures swim amongst us. Flippers on our feet and sunblock on our faces, we dove right into the crystal-clear water to discover an underwater paradise. Cruising along on the catamaran, we spotted dolphins moving elegantly through the water as they playfully followed us for several miles.
The cool mud squishes beneath our shoes as we hike through a lush rainforest in Hana. As we embark on our journey, we encounter a variety of exotic plants and tall trees that encompass the sky. Maui Gold pineapples planted in even rows grow within this paradise; their sweet taste is a favorite among the locals and certainly a favorite of mine. The highlight of the hike was hearing the rushing water of the Hana Waterfall as it glistened in the sunlight. My sister bravely ventured up the waterfall and leaped from the top as people cheered her on in fascination.
Every Hawaiian island yields a truly unique adventure, from the tropical climate to the beautiful sunsets and breathtaking views. Surfing in Honolulu, a helicopter ride over a volcano in Hilo, snorkeling in Kona, and a waterfall hike in Hana. I treasure these memories from my unforgettable travels and look forward to the day when I can return.