Monday: Portuguese Purple Cupcake Stings
We have this gigantic avocado on the kitchen counter that isn’t quite ripe yet, but I think it’s inspiring us to eat the other ones. Breakfast in Hawaii comes with all kinds of yummy things: papaya with a squirt of lime juice, local hard boiled eggs (I’m hooked on them with celery salt and Sriracha sauce, and of course pineapple. Kona coffee is known for its strength and high caffeine content: I have to stick to decaf.
There was still a big south swell pumping this morning in Kona, even up here in Puako, it was wrapping around to us a bit. Still, it wasn’t enough to keep this group out of the water, so we planned a big triangular swim in our bay. On the second leg we swim in behind a reef where the waves were breaking, and you could feel the power of the Pacific as the swell exploded. I love to be out there when the ocean swells are up and there’s no wind - you get these moving glass mountains that flow right through you. I like to think they transfer some energy into us.
Most of this group swims at about the same pace, but Charlie (an octogenarian) strokes at a slightly lower speed. Heather and I took turns swimming with him this morning and this afternoon, and we are both impressed by his stamina and relentlessness. He’s a retired vascular surgeon who took up swimming a tad later than the rest of us, and is actually getting more efficient and faster each day. His partner Luise (also an octogenarian) is a powerhouse in the water, holds many Masters world records, and is every bit as charming as Charlie but in the opposite way. I’m meeting them for the first time although they’ve been on a previous SwimVacation.
Charlie faces the waves at Hapuna State Park, and Luise enjoys coloring when she’s not breaking world swimming records.
After our swim we had a decent chunk of time to do nothing, and our guests spread out on the punee (Hawaiian day bed), and on the beach. I explored the area between our spot and Hapuna State Park for a bit, and got some fantastic views before heading back to put lunch out.
It rained a lot in Hawaii last month, and every thing is very green, and the wildlife around our Hale (house) is abundant. There are pheasants and songbirds, geckos and anoles, and a mongoose couple that chases each other around the yard.
Our afternoon plans for outrigger tours in Kona were pushed off to tomorrow due to the swell, so we headed to Hapuna state park for our late afternoon swim. It was typically windy here for this time of day, and the water was choppy and confused. We charged along the beach for about 30 minutes when somehow, over the breaking waves, I heard our guy Ryan whistling from shore. I looked up and saw him waving us in. Not one to ask questions in circumstances like this, I grabbed Charlie and we swam directly to shore. Along the way, I heard Ryan on the lifegueards PA system warning us that Portuguese Man of War had washed up on the beach, and we should exit the water right away. Heather was leading her group of 6 a bit further to our north, and 4 of them received stings. Ryan brought them straight to the guard tower for a vinegar rinse, and they all took it in stride, especially Margaret, who was stung the most. She has a tattoo of a honey badger on her thigh that she got in a single two-hour sitting, so maybe she is the one who could handle this better than any of us. With some other home remedies, she improved throughout the day. Lots of water and a cocktail helped too.
Gathered back at our spot on the beach, guest Pam contemplated how scary a name Portuguese Man of War is, and Heather suggested they be renamed Portuguese Purple Cupcakes. We all concurred.
I opened my temporary bar on the porch for some much deserved cocktails. Braised shortrib, fingerling potatoes, and sauteed local green beans with wild mushrooms were served, and our evening ended on the earlier side - two swims and our first full day under our belt put everyone in for an early, long sleep, caressed by Hawaii’s gentle breezes. Rest up, SwimVacationers! A full day tomorrow, including stroke video, yoga and outriggers canoe tours! Hawaii has so much to offer and we welcome it all.