A Near-Death Experience…

Today was fantastic!

Oh, right, I did think for one terribly long, terribly terrifying moment that I might die, but I’ll fill you in on that later.

First, I have to tell you how AMAZING ziplining is. Mom and I both agreed that it was well worth the early wake-up call–we had to be up by 5:30 (yes, in the morning) to catch the “bus” that took us high above Lahaina to the zipline course.

Some “bus”–we got bounced, jounced, and jangled around as the rumbling passenger van shuddered up the side of a hill. Did I mention that there weren’t any seatbelts? I had been a bit apprehensive about “zipping” but my off-roading experience in that van was almost as thrilling as the actual zipline course.

IMG_1410But the course didn’t disappoint. Our guides, Jordan and Curen, both native Hawaiians, cheered us on throughout the entire adventure and persuaded us to attempt crazy stunts. Everyone in the group (even the most timid) loved zipping backwards, cannonballing, spinning to get a 360°  view, and–my favorite–trust falling!

Aside from testing our zipping abilities, Jorden and Curen kept us laughing as we hiked from line to line. After Jordan showed us a frightening video of an angry wild boar he’d caught on a nearby piece of land, Curen seemed to get a kick out of hiding in the nearby bushes and making terrifyingly realistic pig noises before jumping out and scaring unsuspecting tourists such as myself.

It was an amazing adventure and, zipping above the West Maui coastline, I felt as though I could fly forever.

Of course, all flying has to come to an end sooner or later, and my group was soon headed back to the base–in the same cantankerous van we’d ridden up in. Fortunately–or, maybe for some, unfortunately–it had rained while we were zipping, turning the muddy red roads into giant slippery mud puddles.

Unfazed, our driver took each turn with great confidence. The passengers did not. We ended up walking a bit of the way down before the guides deemed the road safe enough to ride on. Even then, it probably wasn’t the most rational thing to do, but we all arrived in one piece. After all, as our guides made sure to point out, the van ride was the real reason we were required to wear helmets 🙂

After the morning’s excitement, Mom and I were both craving a hearty lunch. We set off in search of deliciousness and found ourselves at an oceanside table in Ka’anapali. We definitely weren’t disappointed!IMG_1411

My Maui-style BLT came on toasted, herbed focaccia and it included a Hawaiian twist–macadamia nut pesto. Yum! The bacon was cooked to crisp, savory perfection and the huge marinated tomato slices were extremely tender. The macadamia nut coleslaw wasn’t bad either…

Once we’d finished our meal, Mom and I realized our thirst for adventure still hadn’t been satisfied. There was only one thing to do: slip on our suits and head for the beach.

Today, the waves weren’t gentle or soothing. Instead, they were violent. So violent, in fact, that there was only a handful of others on the entire beach. Deciding to be brave, Mom and I dove out past the foamy waves breaking on shore and managed to swim to a slightly calm section.

Further out at sea, the waves weren’t nearly so wild–at first. We swam and frolicked for quite a while and I exhausted myself testing out my water-treading abilities.

That’s when things got dicey.

The waves picked up and began to break further from shore–and closer to Mom and I. After getting pulled under several times by the angry surf, the experience went from invigorating to irritating. It was time to head in.

But the possibility of simply swimming to shore was no longer an option. The waves continued to increase in size and frequency. Mom managed to time her swimming well enough that she was able to get her footing and offer me a hand.

Thanks to her help, I managed to get a bit closer to shore. That’s when I took in a nose full of salt water–and spotted a monster wave about to break right on top of me. Though I tried my best to stay on top of it, my strength is no match for the force of a determined wave. It crashed over me and sucked me down to the ocean floor–thank goodness it was sandy or I might not be able to type the tale. Eyes closed tight against the stinging salt water, I waited for the pummeling to stop.

But, just when the waves seemed to calm down, the evil undertow decided to keep me trapped under the surface for a while longer. Thankfully, I managed to keep my wits about me–and water out of my lungs–as I was tossed back and forth in a cruel game of catch between the waves and the current.

Finally, the surf subsided enough for me to catch my footing and scramble to shore, where I promptly exclaimed:

That was awesome!

Yes, ask my mom. That really is what I had to say 🙂

In all honesty, it was quite fun. Even though I enjoyed the waves from the beach for the rest of the day, I realized that my ocean adventure was just like the van ride. Both experiences were really more like Disneyland rides than near-death experiences.

Thankfully, the rest of the day was relatively tame and I enjoyed lounging by the pool, seeking out more stunning tropical flowers, and gazing at another glorious sunset on the lanai. I will admit, though, that I’ve definitely had my fill of adventure for the next few days.

Thankfully, tomorrow’s venture into the Maui upcountry should be a much tamer affair…

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