The last things I remember are leaving the hotel on Monday around 5 p.m., arriving at the airport and going through a long, slow security screening. At some point the three of us flew out of Kauai and into Honolulu where I have a vague recollection of sitting in a catatonic state watching over our luggage as my husband headed out to get something to eat from a burger joint while my daughter left to do a final mosey through the macadamias, moomoos, and laeis. From there, I can’t forget thinking how luxurious first class seating felt as I listened to the stewardess introduce herself by name and run through the meal offerings, stating that she would be around for our drink orders soon. After that….nothing.
I woke up in my own bed with dried out windpipes from the heater being on back home, and noticed through crusty eyes that it was 9:30 in the morning already! Well, at least I have a day to recover, I thought, before the busy Wednesday of food pantry preparation at the church down the road. A glance at the messages and missed calls on my phone soon brought me to the realization that THIS was Wednesday! How could that be? What kind of a time warp did we get caught in flying back from Hawaii? What happened to Tuesday?
I took the morning to reminisce about the buoyant feeling of being with family for vacation. Yes, there were a couple of disappointments, mainly the evening manta ray trip. Perhaps the costliest of our excursions, my son in law scheduled this night time snorkel trip to see the fantastic manta rays off the big island of Hawaii. Word was we had “ninety percent chance” of seeing at least one or two. I couldn’t wait! I’d gone swimming with big creatures in Florida, been in the presence of a nurse shark while diving in the Virgin Islands, so imagining the giant wing spans of the manta rays pulsing with us in the water felt exhilarating. Preparation was intense, or at least very tight: we all donned wetsuits, were fitted for masks and snorkels as well as flippers. Once aboard the boat that would take us out, our captain explained the rules of the trip: stay with the lighted flotation raft. Each participant was to hang on to the raft with one hand while gazing straight down with masks and snorkels. Each snorkel had a removable light attached so that our two guides could keep track of us. First thing I noticed was how cold the water felt after about ten minutes of hanging there. Next, I groaned silently upon hearing the glub, glubs of water going into my ear canals—deep into my ear canals. Well, we stared down, flippers burning a few calories anyway, for about an hour. Saw divers in the forty foot water with lights on below us, but we were barnacles stuck to the float of an unhappy expedition. My son finally let loose and dove down a ways, only to have one of the guides speak to him about staying with the group. He did stay with the group, but after a short conversation was allowed to explore a little more. That evening, we never saw a single manta ray, not even a FISH—“There are no guarantees in the ocean, after all.” My mind fired off a retort of, “Well, there are no guarantees there is money in the account for this either.” All of us were given the promise of a lifetime pass to come back and try again though! After I complete my ear treatments here at home, I’ll have to think long and hard about that deal.