The man has been going to Hawaii each winter since he was four years old. His dad worked hard throughout the year in the his junk business and his reward was two weeks in Honolulu for the family.
Not bad for an orphan abandoned at 6 with barely a high school education (my FIL, not the man!).
Now that we are back on the west coast, we've started spending the winter break in Hawaii. Family traditions and all. I got all teary-eyed during this trip thinking about my FIL, a six year old orphan with nothing ended up being able to take his family here year after year. And now that he has passed away, we are doing the same thing with our family.
This past winter break we went to Maui.
The man and I love to paddle. We've kayaked for years and when the girl was tiny enough she would sit in front of one of us in a sea kayak. When she got big enough we put her in one of her own - towed by us in ours of course!
When we are in Hawaii we go outrigger canoeing as much as we can. The waves are bigger in Waikiki than in Maui so you can actually catch a wave along with the surfers and ride it in. The southern part of Maui is more protected by other islands so the waves are a lot smaller.
We like to paddle out just before the sun rises. It's still dark as we push the canoe out around 6:30am.
This time of year there are thousands of whales migrating off shore. You see them breech and splash. The moms are cautious but the baby whales swim right up to see what this crazy canoe is all about. We jump off the canoe with a mask on and swim underwater where you can hear them calling to each other.
The water is warm. Dark blue if it's overcast and a brilliant aqua blue when the sun is shining. And it's clear, so clear that you can see to the bottom.
It's the rhythm of the paddle strokes that I enjoy. You listen to the paddler at the back call out the instructions in Hawaiian - change sides, rest, paddle, faster, slower. There's nothing else to do, no where in particular to be.
It's good for me, for someone who spends a lot of time thinking. It's good for me to do something completely physical, to feel my muscles strain and pull with the rhythm of the canoe. It's good for me to get out of my head.