Monday was another perfect day. Woke to a beautiful morning. Took my young niece and nephew snorkeling and spotted many green sea turtles, moray eels, and octopus amongst all the other fish of the Hawaiian reefs. Then spent the day sunning, swimming, and boogie boarding (as well as a fair amount of drinking and eating).
But all was not well as we started to hear a tale of Hurricane Lane. But it was like 500+ miles away, a weakening category 4, and projected to turn away from the Hawaiian Islands. Most of the locals were talking about the surf being up as a good thing. But it did mean rain later in the week.
We decided we’d plan a Tuesday adventure and go ziplining with Jungle Ziplines. We book the excursion for myself, my wife and daughter, her boyfriend, and my niece and nephew. We all had to run out and buy either closed toed shoes, or long pants, or both to ensure we met their clothing requirements. After a few trips to Ross, we were provisioned to zip.
But then we also realized our rental car was not large enough accommodate six. My mother, wanting us to have fun for her birthday and to live vicariously through us (not wanting to zip line herself) offered for us to get a larger rental car for the day. It would be her treat, so we could all go. We made a few phone calls, got a mini-van through Avis nearby and would pick it up in the morning
Morning came. I rose early and put on the local TV news to catch up on the hurricane. While they thought it would weaken overnight they were now reporting that it had actually strengthened and was still a solid Cat 4. And it was turning towards Hawaii. Hurricane watches were now issued for the Big Island and Maui. The first thing I heard the meteorologist say was “People, this is not a drill. There’s a hurricane coming”.
I woke the family for prepping. We quickly headed across the street to the small local store and bought supplies: Water, a flashlight, some additional food, cold coffee drinks (in case we can’t make coffee we’d still get our fix!), did we have enough booze? Yes!, cash from the ATM, etc. We then checked in with the office. They told us we had 36 or so hours. That they’d give us instructions on how to hunker down if necessary or evacuation instructions. EVACUATION INSTRUCTIONS?! Say what? Basically, it was to make our way to a nearby school as a shelter in the unlikely event it might come to that. We felt prepared. At least enough to go pick up the rental and head out to the ziplines.
The Chrysler Town and Country is a bulbous piece of shit of a van, IMO. It drove terribly and sounded even worse. We loaded up and headed on our way to Jungle Ziplines in the jungle at 50 Waipio Road, but with a quick stop in the hippie/surfer town of Pa’ia first. By the time we got to Pa’ia the transmission started slipping. I couldn’t get the car (an automatic) to shift to anything but first or reverse. I pulled over and call Avis. They were great. “So sorry to hear that. You are close to the airport, do you think you can get it to our main Avis location where you can swap it out? I’ll call ahead and arrange a new car for you”. I dropped my family in Pa’ia to explore and grab lunch and I made a harrowing trip, in first gear, on a highway, near redlining, back to the airport for a swap. They had a car waiting for me and the swap took only minutes. I was really impressed with their customer service. It was a far cry from the miserable experience I had with Hertz and the Fiat 500 I rented in Portugal.
Back on the road, I found my family waiting for me at Flatbread Company in Pa’ia with a fresh flatbed just delivered. It was delicious. We ate up and headed towards the ziplines for a fun-filled day of zipping in the rain.
After successfully zipping our way through 7 courses of jungle foliage in the rain, we set back out for Kihei, but first, we made a quick stop at the Ho’okipa Beach lookout to watch the surfers, boogie-boarders, kite-surfers, and windsurfers taking advantage of the rising swell preceding Hurricane Lane.
When we got back to Kehei we took advantage of the increasing wind and surf ourselves with a little boogie boarding, body surfing, and skimboarding before dinner.
As we prepared dinner we learned that Hurrican Lane had grown to a Category 5. Tomorrow we’d spend more time preparing for a potential hit or a close call. Either way, we are going to see some storm.