Coming Home to Hawaii Is Special.
It’s still a thrill returning to these islands, even after more than 50 years. About 20 minutes before we land, you can feel the plane slow just a bit and a few seconds later, you’re aware of it beginning to settle, starting to gradually lose altitude.
Sometimes as we descend, we’re able to see the twin peaks on the Big Island way off to the left: Mauna Loa (Long Mountain) and Mauna Kea (White Mountain). In the usual landing pattern coming into Maui, those two mountains are probably 150 miles away. From sea level, both peaks are just a bit under 14,000 feet, but they are in fact, the tallest mountains in the world, rising some 33,000 feet from the sea bed.
It’s still a warm, happy feeling for me to look down at this beautiful Island as my plane is landing. Here on Maui, incoming aircraft have to descend over the isthmus between East and West Maui, actually heading away from the airport. Then, by now being out over the ocean on the other side of the island, the plane does a long, swooping 180-degree turn, heading back to the airport, landing into the trade winds that blow out of the northeast probably 350 days a year.
The Hawaiian Islands have had a couple of brushes with tropical hurricanes in the last few weeks, the last one while I was away. The first passed us to the north; the most recent one swung to the south, the only effects being very heavy rains.
Those rains are a mixed blessing. They produce some unbelievable waterfalls and, in fact, on Oahu, if there are high winds passing through the Nuuanu Valley, the water spills over the edge of the cliffs and goes up instead of down.
The downside to these heavy rains is flash flooding and I am sad to say that people are lost almost every year, hiking in dry stream beds and suddenly caught in a torrent of water coming from higher up. Victims are usually tourists, but even locals are sometimes caught. And supposedly we know better.
I have another NARP meeting to attend in October, but for now I’m back to our normal routine. My “supervisor” has a list of things to do, including replacing a post and a number of rails on our pasture fence. The citrus trees need fertilizer and a bit of pruning and the weeds have sprung up in the gravel driveway … thanks to all that aforementioned rain. And then, of course, the Red Sox are playing to Cleveland Indians starting at one o’clock our time. I will be more than ready to sit down with a cold beverage by then.