Sunday, December 30, 2012

Action with Intent - My trip to Lana'i

Miniature Decorative Pineapple
Lodge at Koele - Lana'i Hawai'i
G. Cornwall - c.2012

"Seek to enjoy, not to possess." - Nana Veary

December has been a time for me to consider the differences and balances between having things and doing things.

In October of 2012, I found an incredible deal with Westjet and booked a ticket for the first leg of my journey from Victoria BC to Honolulu Hawai'i. I followed up with an island hopper  booking to Lana'i, Hawai'i. I had spoken with a friend on Lana'i and she graciously agreed to let me stay with her. My trip was set for December to celebrate my 51st birthday on Lana'i. I had attempted to put the trip together for my 50th and it hadn't worked out. I officially named this trip my 50 redux. 

Some people told me I was "lucky" to be taking this trip. While I know I am fortunate to live in a country where I have a job, a place to live and enough to eat, rest assured, I did not win this trip. What I did do was: work tons of extra hours, sold my art and photo cards for very reasonable prices and I liquidated family belongings that had been sitting in a cupboard because I did not like them, did not use them or both. I scrimped, saved, worked, planned, sold and bartered and, in December, off I went to Lana'i.

I saw old friends and met new ones. I hiked, toured the island with some very knowledgeable locals, ate local food, chilled at the beach, studied the island's history at the Lana'i Culture and Heritage Centre, took pictures as two of the kindest and loveliest people I have ever met renewed their wedding vows, was treated to two incredibly luxurious and delicious lunches with them at the Lodge at Koele and I treated myself to a few drinks and meals at the islands top-notch restaurants and hotels. 

As I mentioned earlier, for the largest part of my trip I stayed with a friend on the island but I also gave myself a birthday present of 3 nights at the Hotel Lana'i, where I indulged in the simplicity and camaraderie of  this island gem. 

On the Friday before my birthday, I headed down to Hulopoe to enjoy a day on the beach and in mother ocean. It was a day when the mother was at peace with her shores and all of her children rejoiced in her pristine, crystal clear beauty. The air caressed with a gentle, warm breeze like a kiss to the cheek of all life. 

I knew the dolphins were in the bay but I never chase them down so I set up my spot on the beach and went to change into my swim wear and got out my snorkel gear. I swam straight out for about 100 metres and, in no time at all, a pod of about 17 dolphins was headed towards me.  I was the only person in this part of the bay at this time and I held my place in the water to watch these beautiful creatures approach. I have to say, it is a little intimidating as it is impossible to tell if they are upset - they are always smiling. :-) When the lead dolphin was within several feet of me, we began swimming beside each other, my eyes to theirs with a silent communication of mutual acceptance and pure joy. It was then I noticed the two mamas with their babies swimming directly beneath them in perfect rhythmic unison with their mothers. It is the most beautiful experience I have ever had. I can never clearly articulate the emotion and feeling of this experience. It may sound odd but it was intense and perfect and simple. It was the best birthday present I could ever hope for and I will never forget. I can close my eyes and be right there again. The memory of it is as clear and perfect as the mother was that day.

None of the objects I sold could ever offer me the joy and beauty and perfection of those moments. I hope I will choose experience over objects, always. I choose to live, love, do, see and feel. 

Here are some of the pictures from my experience on Lana'i. a place I have been getting to know, like a lover, for twenty years. This is a glance at Lana'i through my eyes.

-Gillian Cornwall, December 30, 2012.

**All images and text on this blog are the property of Gillian Cornwall. Please notify me if you wish to use any. Mahalo.** 

 he'e nalu - Hulopoe

 he'e nalu - Hulopoe

 Karen and Alan's Pagoda, The Lodge at Koele

Orange hibiscus 


Me at Kaiolohia 

Looking to Maui from Kaiolohia 

The Cook Island Pines at sunset 

Christmas time in Lana'i City 

Amazing dinner hosted by my friend, Barb 

Lana'i Boat Harbour 

Fishing - Lana'i Boat Harbour 

In these hills, roam thousands of Axis Deer and Mouflon Sheep 

The old jail cells being spruced up for ...? 

The Lana'i Theatre used to play movies but has sat empty for a while now. 

Where you stay?  

Mouflon Horns

The Four Seasons Lodge at Koele 

On my day long tour with Bruce. Awesome. 

The shipwrecked WWII ferrous concrete hull Liberty Ship
Was given residence here after the war as an "economical" method of disposal 

Not for the faint of heart but a piece of cake for our guide, Bruce. 

The fearless and very knowledgeable guide, Bruce. 

The Ironwood Forest 

Heading down to the barge harbour 

The Three Sisters 

A lava tube. Sometimes people were put to rest in these after they passed. Those who placed them  would be the only ones who knew the whereabouts, so would plunge to their deaths to keep the secret safe .

The Barge Harbour 

Lana'i Oil Company 

The evening light on Lana'i is indescribable. 

A papaya tree at sunset 

Hulopoe from Four Seasons Manele Bay 


 The amazing slack key guitarist, Cindy Combs

Lana'i Coffee Works

Lana'i Culture and Heritage Center

My beloved Hotel Lana'i

Hulopoe from Four Seasons Manele Bay


The state flower - Yellow Hibiscus

Even the butterflies come here to rest

Koele Ranch land

The approach to the Four Seasons Lodge at Koele

The fig trees at the Lodge at Koele

The Gardens at the Lodge at Koele

The rare occurrence when you would find me with a flower in my hair

The aptly named Bird of Paradise



Pretty sure these were sand flea bites. Minimum 20 per leg and foot. Torture. 

Dining Room at Hotel Lana'i - decorated for Christmas.

A very content me.

In Lana'i city - the palm amid the pines.

University of Hawaii - Maui College - Lana'i Style.

Local Bananas - Nothing like it.

Corrugated tin is as much a part of my Lana'i as the beach at Hulopoe

Red ginger in my friend's garden.

My lanai room at Hotel Lana'i on Lana'i

Hau'oli La Hanau to me. 

Pink Plumeria




My favourite flower; my favourite scent

My strawberry daiquiri

Some people on Lana'i take their Christmas decorating to the max!

Very, very happy Gillian - aka Kila Nalu

From the airport - staying outside until the last possible moment

The gardens at the airport in Honolulu

See you next time, my Lana'i, my love.