The people of Hawaii have long been known for their warmth and friendliness, and this is one of the aspects of the islands that I most enjoy. It seems that if you meet a Hawaiian just once, you are friends for life.
This past Wednesday three homeschooling families took this haole (foreigner, generally a Caucasian) priest and welcomed him like a kama'aina (one who lives on the island) to a picnic on the beach and took him paddling (I'm not really sure how to spell that) on the Pacific Ocean. It was an experience I will not soon forget.
It began with a lesson on paddling etiquette. Out of respect for the canoe, one is never to walk over or under the canoe; one must always walk around. And one should never rest one's paddle in the sand.
After this lesson we were given brief instructions on paddling, rolled the canoe out to the water and jumped it.
Being in such a small vessel on the open waters - at least by my standards - was not at all frightening, which surprised me a bit. It was quite enjoyable paddling further and further from shore and thoughts of the voyages of the Hawaiians filled my mind; I wondered what it might be like to paddle from one island to another.
The water itself, of course, is beautiful and when the sun hits it and you're out on it, it is wondrous. At one point a honu (sea turtle) even swam near the canoe.
It is strange to think that two trips ago to Hawaii I would not have even thought about into such a canoe. With each trip to Oahu I change just a bit, and for the better.
Ever since my first visit to Hawaii I have been in awe of the paddle boarders, who seem to be the masters of the sea. Standing upon their surf boards, they hold a long oar and gently stroke their way across the water.
I want to do that.
But first I must get in better shape. Then I have to learn to stand on a board. One step at a time.