With the recent tsunami we are reminded once again that we live in an unpredictable place ruled by nature. We have heard it said more than once that “Pele will test you”, when you live here. Tsunamis may come, earthquakes can happen, strange storms blow through, the volcano erupts and burps vog, and the ocean can shift from smooth bathtub to churning froth in a day. Do residents fear these things? No. Should visitors? No. The magic of this place IS the energy that abounds.
For many visitors, the Big Island is a place of transition. We’ve had guests come here for many reasons: for honeymoons and anniversaries and baby moons and weddings, but also to relax, be still, and heal. When you’re standing at the cliffs at Pu’uhonua staring down into the clear water, or floating on your back at Manini at sunset, or simply watching the ocean shift through the day from our lanai, it is easy to once again feel small but significant. You watch the big sky shift in the volcano or feel the wind rush through at South Point or hear the surf pound relentlessly at Punalu’u and you can’t help but be reminded of your connection to something greater than yourself. For some, this is an inspirational/life-changing/affirming/peaceful feeling, for others, it’s disturbing.
There seems to be a love/hate relationship with the Big Island. Some visitors are heart-broken when they have to leave, already planning their next trip. Others seem disappointed in the island and its vast spaces and big energy and unpredictable weather. I had a guest admit to me today that her vision of Hawaii had been Waikiki. She spent time in Honolulu and didn’t like it, and had figured all Hawaii was this way. For her, the Big Island has been eye-opening and marvelous, but for other guests, it seems to be jarring and overwhelming. As I mentioned in my entry about guests being set on seeing live lava flowing after looking at all the tourist literature, having a check-list mentality here can lead to disappointment. The Big Island is not for everyone. For visitors to the islands who dream of shopping in Waikiki, or relaxing in a controlled environment, then staying at a resort, or remaining in Honolulu is probably the best fit. For guests who are entranced by the idea of so much wildness, who like the idea of silence and being alone and of exploring off-the-beaten-path, the Big Island will most likely be one of the most remarkable places they’ll ever visit.