We had the same sense of smallness and wonder when standing on the edge of Kīlauea volcano in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park on the Big Island of Hawaii on our first port day. As we gazed out over the smoking crater from the visitor center, our van driver advised that if we felt the earth shake we should run like mad away from the crater. As I pondered the likelihood of being able to outrun a violent eruption (clearly not very likely!) I understood yet again that any thoughts we might have of being in control were just that . . . . thoughts. Nature always has the upper hand, try as we might to believe otherwise.
From the Big Island we moved next to Oahu. We spent the majority of our day there at Pearl Harbor National Monument, viewing the Arizona memorial and touring the USS Missouri. What can one say about the sacrifice, devastation and deaths of over 60 million people during World War II? I was at a loss until I spotted the poem below, which eloquently summed up my thoughts over the course of a very moving day.
Lest I continue my complacent way
Help me to remember somehow out there a man died for me today
As long as there be war I then must ask and answer
Am I worth dying for?
Our next stop was Kauai, where we simply had fun, all the more enjoyed because of the awe and somberness of our previous two stops. We went river tubing through an old sugar plantation, enjoyed tropical drinks and appetizers at Duke's Barefoot Beach Bar, and watched surfers and paddleboarders navigating the impressive surf at Nawiliwili Beach.
My husband's post-tubing grin
Hanging loose with a local
We headed to Maui next, where we hit a snag and found ourselves unable to get off the ship in time to explore Lahaina. Not to worry however. . . there were, no exaggeration, dozens upon dozens of whales swimming, leaping and diving through the water all around our ship. We were completely enthralled, and barely left our balcony the entire day lest we miss out on a sighting. What a moving experience to see mother and calf swimming side by side, and to watch whale after whale breach again and again all around us. It is simply incomprehensible to me how any nation could endorse the slaughter of these magnificent, highly intelligent mammals.
We left Maui and headed back to California after making a final and quick stop in Ensenada, Mexico to satisfy the Jones Act foreign port requirement. We had a wonderful time and returned home with more than just memories . . . we also came home with much to contemplate about life in general, and where we fit into it's grand scheme.
(And a thank you to my friend and fellow cruiser Peter H.,
who took several of the photos displayed in this posting.)