I had never been to the Hawaiian Islands and once I set foot upon its terra firma, the place hits you from all directions right away.
Once settled, something that stood out to me was the sense of deep separation from the mainland.
Yes, of course, when you sit on a plane for 6 hours crossing nothing but water, you understand the massiveness of the Pacific Ocean in a logical sense.
But when I studied it firsthand, from a high bluff near the little village of Waipi’o (see above), overlooking the deep blue horizon where the sea meets the sky, the logical sense doesn’t provide the full story.
The Pacific here seems like a mysterious feral cousin to the version I’m familiar with when I’m in Ventura or Santa Barbara.
Away from major land masses that inhibit its forces, where the deep oceanic trenches could swallow many of the world's mountain ranges, it's free to churn uninterrupted for nearly 3000 miles.
[Biking compadre Erik takes cover from a wave that's probably been in the making for months]
Swift currents rising from the deep, high seas with whitecaps, storm clouds that build then dump rain in a seeming blink, you can’t deny its authority.
It’s the world’s largest and deepest ocean. Average depth is 13,000 feet. It holds the deepest place on the planet at 35,000 feet.
Also consider Point Nemo - a spot in the South Pacific that's the most remote patch of water anywhere on Earth, where sometimes the closest humans are the astronauts aboard the International Space Station as it orbits overhead.
The Pacific out here is a giant that envelopes everything, including me standing on a rock in the middle of it all.
It will get your respect sooner or later and for a moment, the Big Island doesn’t seem so big. That is, until I started to bike its entire perimeter some days ago.
This bluff is a spectacular place to discover it all and to experience the fury that it brings when the sky breaks with warm rain and wind.
Or when the next moment brings a nearly unimaginable sunrise.
This sense of awe followed me as I biked mile after mile around the island – from Kona, counterclockwise back to Kona again.
A dozen days at the behest of its trade winds, humidity, scattered thunder clouds and rain.
Besides its strength and power, there were spectacular examples of serene paradise as well.
I camped at beautiful calm beaches. Wading into the water is as easy as stepping into a warm shower. It’s easy to spot exotic fish and my favorite of all - sea turtles.
If you’re out here, way way out here and you’ve not figured out who’s the boss, then you’ve not been paying attention. It’s that giant blue body out there under the sky.
Go make your introduction at a grassy bluff just before the sun dips below the vanishing point.
Then you’re ready to embrace the ways of remote Oceania, living the mokupuni life.
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