We went ziplining! Why did we do that?! Well, it started with a colleague of mine. He had been on vacation somewhere, and was casually showing pictures of how he and his wife had been ziplining. By this time Beedoo! and I were already planning to go to Hawai'i, and we had to decide what we would be doing there, and this sure sounded... Interesting!
And it was! On our last full day on Hawai'i Island, when we were finally done mucking with the volcano, we indeed went ziplinging. The first lines - well, most lines, actually - were simple training lines, in the middle of a banana plantation (nothing cushions your fall like a banana). There was a lot to learn, too: how to turn, how to jump off, how not to crush your fingers in the mechanism, you know, basic stuff. It was simple, really, and the trainers supplied the gear - in combination with my choice of attire for that day I ended up looking like a World War I soldier!
Some of these lines were very scenic, though, providing a view of depths, water, and water falls. The real line was left at the end, a very long line spanning a small canyon or some such, with a big water fall and everything. And this is where thing went wrong. Not for us! Not us! Beedoo! and I, being experienced adventurers who climb volcanoes as a matter of course, made it through the course with nary a problem. Obviously. However...
I went first on the long rope, and made it to the end no problem. The view was lovely, and I even saw a rainbow around the waterfall, which I am told was rather lucky. Next up was a girl from Ukraine. We had spoken with her a bit; she was there with a friend from Russia, though they both lived on the island of Maui. She was a bit small, perhaps this was the problem, and this is why she did not actually make it to the other side, coming to a stop well before the end of the rope, dangling over the precipice. As coincidence would have it, while we were talking with them earlier we had asked what would happen in such a case. We were told that one of them would come to the rescue with his man-thighs. And true to their word, they did! One of them had to pull themselves along the line, risking fingers, so he could grab her with his thighs and pull her back to safety.
Now would that not have been a hillarious story if only it had happened to us?
Obviously we have a number of pictures of me looking like a dork in a helmet and Beedoo! standing next to a dork in a helmet, and maybe some action shots of Beedoo! zipping in front of a waterfall. Don't worry, I'll put them up later!
The rest of the day we went exploring along the island that day, taking pictures of marvelous waterfalls, giant trees and being frighteningly lost after sundown. All will be shown...
(P.S.: the ziplining place shares a building with a most interesting... museum. It revolves around a man who claims to have made some discovery in physics that puts him above Einstein and Newton, and which will change the entire 21st century with free energy. I forgot the name of this type of energy. One of the guides, when asked, presented us that the man wears a cape. Superheroic physics, how awesome can things get? ;) )
Ziplining was super fun! No, it wasn't really like flying so much... more like sitting on a swing. You're held up by a bunch of straps of webbing that make a harness, and a box that clips onto the line. Then you just glide along the line. I was probably too focused on coming in on a straight trajectory and not repeating my experience in the "fun" house of landing on my back and not being able to sit up and get to my feet. Nevertheless, the last two big lines were a blast.
Arno mentioned the girl fro the Ukraine getting stuck... she was the worst case, but a few other girls in the group also got stranded... just not as badly. They stopped just short of the cliff. (This is one instance when my extra weight made the difference-- -I- made it with room to spare! Thank you, extra mass!) The instructors were able to throw a rope to the four other girls that got stuck, with various degrees of success getting them to catch it, and towed them to the landing spot (a kind of wobbly metal staircase).
Along the way, our guides let us sample some of the baby bananas (delicious!), ginger flowers, which are a kind of honeysuckle, and sugar cane.
Was it scary? Not really, unless you count the van ride in and out. We rode in the most torn-up vehicle I have ever seen... No seatbelts, very rough and occasionally very steep terrain. We were all wearing our helmets the whole ride, and it's a good thing, because there was one bump we went over that sent me out of my seat and I hit the ceiling pretty hard!
That was our morning. The rest of the day, we spent doing a little sightseeing and hiking (or at least climbing over rocks and hanging around in a banyan grove) at Rainbow Falls, and since we had most of a tank of gas left in the car that we'd already paid for, we drove across the island to Kona for dinner. Ippy's Barbecue, a place I'd seen advertised in various brochures, ended up being a small takeout place in a mall... I was a bit miffed at that, but it WAS some damn good barbecue. We grabbed some Dairy Queen afterwards and sat outside eating, which may have been a little mistake, pleasant though it was... In the evenings, the wind dies down, and the mosquitos come out! I got bitten four times, and must have had a reaction to them, because those bites swelled up to huge, hard welts! Arno didn't get bitten, because I'm the sweet one. I kind of blame the bananas. :P
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