In stark contrast to the concrete blocks, and infestation of brand name stores in Waikiki, the north shore of Oahu remains genuinely Hawaiian. This is no accident; it is the direct impact of locals constantly striving to “keep country, country”.
These are stories from when I lived in the Fiji Islands from 2009-2011 and travelled around the Oceania region.
The show is spectacular. The volcano mostly smokes, but then a couple times a minute it spews lava in a fiery shower, like a whale spout, and then occasionally it bellows quite deeply and launches car sized molten boulders far into the sky above our heads.
However, for those willing to take a shallow plunge, the reward is spectacular. The sun illuminates the jellies, causing them to radiate golden light through the emerald green lagoon. As you dive through them, it feels like gliding through a million stars in the night sky, some gently brushing across your mask, and along your skin, pulsating on their path towards the bright spot of sun on the lake.
He cocks his head backward at the bullet hole. “Someone may try to carjack us. They will jump out in front of us on the road with some sort of gun and demand we stop. I need to know what you are comfortable with.” He looked straight ahead, to allow the concept to sink in, to allow me to be alone with my thoughts temporarily.
A few months before I arrived in the area, a child was taken from the village where one of our guides had family. In the recent past the men would set out with guns to go kill the marauding beast, but today that is not possible, since no one has guns anymore.
Tribal warfare, the lack of infrastructure, violent crime, malaria, steep mountains and dense jungle, mean age old traditions still dictate the tempo of daily life, and information still travels by whispers and rumors.
In Vava’u, the far northern islands of the Kingdom of Tonga, the water is so clear you feel like the sun’s rays are penetrating all the way to the bottom of the ocean, but you know just beyond their reach, shrouded in the gloomy depths, is a full grown 80,000 pound, 60 foot long, female humpback whale with her newly born calf.
They are bull fighting with a tiger shark. It is so heroic and you are stoked to be in the arena with them, you just wish you had a rodeo clown. Every once in a while the shark misses the fish head, and turns towards us, mouth gaping in expectation.