Sunday, September 07, 2008

Where the clouds are far behind me

View from Waimea Canyon, Kauai, Hawaii, September 2008 (© Simon Zeng Hao)

Although we did redeem ourselves by coming 8th in a double hull, 12-person race the following day, our anti-climactic start in the 18-mile race took the shine off the racing experience; the better part of the trip for me was the camaraderie amongst the team, the way that obscure catchphrases always develop and take a life of their own ("I haven't had a moustache since 1972!"), the sheer pleasure of new landscapes and experiences, with nothing more pressing to do than read books, talk, sit peacefully by the sea, or lie on your back in the sand looking up at the astonishing array of stars.

On the first day of the race I dropped my Blackberry in the water in the bottom of a canoe we were removing from the water. This wasn't deliberate - I also managed to wreck a camera one of my fellow crew-members had given me for safekeeping - but it did mean that I could no longer check work emails and was reprieved of technology-induced anxiety and the sense that my time is not my own, even on holiday.

We spent a few days on the island of Kauai (where, of course, Elvis filmed the incomparable masterpiece Blue Hawaii, and other incomparable masterpieces such as Jurassic... Raiders of... and South Pacific were also filmed), home to the entirely benign Pacific Missile Range facility. Five of us shared an old sugar plantation cottage in Waimea, where James Cook first came ashore from the HMS Resolution in 1778 (although he appears rather imperiously to have sent William Bligh ahead first to make sure the natives were friendly) right by the black volcanic sands of a tumultuous shoreline. We explored Waimea Canyon in our unwieldy hire car.

On our last day we took a catamaran trip along the Na Pali coastline. Nonchalant goats tripped along precarious ledges high above, dolphins swam with the boat, and Israel Kamakawiwo'ole's ukulele version of Somewhere Over the Rainbow/Wonderful World played on the PA system as they served us mai-tais and we returned home through a gap in the raincloud.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Missing you and Hawaii! Thanks for being such a big part of a great trip. Lx