The photo above shows "the kids" (Laura and Adam, Marika and Evan) with their paddle boarding instructor just prior to launch on the Hanalei River which, 100 yards to the left in the photo, empties into the Pacific Ocean.
After an on-land lesson to learn how to stay upright, they ventured into the upstream current for some ferocious paddling and, when they got to their destination, enjoyed a more leisurely float back to their starting place -- doing yoga on the boards, lying on their backs watching the sky float by overhead and enjoying a new way to spend time in the water.
(As an aside, they met Laird Hamilton -- the very famous surfer -- on the river when their instructor said "hi" to Laird and introduced the kids to him as they were passing.)
See for yourself how incredible and record-breaking Laird is: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pYQQtxb8wv0
On our first day to Hanalei Bay, we spread our towels out on the beach and discovered we were sitting less than 20 feet away from Kevin Bacon and Kyra Sedgewick. (So there was less than six degrees of separation if you get the point!) We've had more "Hollywood" sitings so far than if we had been in Hollywood itself.
(Please excuse the indulgent name-dropping but -- hey -- it's way cool!)
As I've said in previous blog entries, it is too rare these days to have all six of us together for these kind of vacations. This week has been incredibly rewarding for our family.
The kids have scheduled themselves for all the island activities they can sign up for. Each activity involves lots of exercise -- hiking, paddling, kayaking, running, etc.
Gil and I try keeping up with them but find ourselves enjoying the quiet times reading and photographing and hanging out in the solitude that Hawaii offers.
I'm reading The Thinking Life: How to Thrive in the Age of Distraction by P.M. Forni. Hawaii is the perfect place to shut out the "distractions" in order to concentrate on the book's contemplative lessons.
On the more technical side, I'm also reading the manual for the new Lion operating system for my Mac and the iOS5 manual for the iPhone and iPod. So many new features and I want to know all the device capabilities so I can stay current!
Gil is reading the #1 New York Times Bestseller Inside of a Dog: What Dogs See, Smell and Know by Alexandra Horowitz. He's also reading Annie Leibowitz Pilgrimage which is a book of her photographs with an introduction by Doris Kearns Goodwin and which is filled with incredible photographs.
And we can't keep him from reading several books he brought with him on trading in the financial markets -- a perennial favorite of his at home and on vacations.
We're eating all the fresh local fruits and catch-of-the-day fish for our mealtimes. Washing it down with tropical island drinks and locally brewed beers. It's easy to have such a healthy lifestyle when you spend so much time outdoors.
We're savoring the fresh salty-sea air and the views from our timeshare unit and closeness of our family.
Lots of memories
Being made on this island
Family counts most.