I recently returned from a trip to Hawaii, where among many other things I had a go at cliff jumping and went on a few hikes; two activities which everyone should experience in the beautiful landscapes of these remote Pacific islands.
Throwing yourself off a cliff
That very first second before you launch yourself off a cliff edge into the deep blue ocean of Hawaii is the second that your heart begins to race like never before. The adrenalin you feel overcomes any nerves, and the excitement you anticipate is overcome with fear. You jump. It takes a few seconds until you hit the water. Suddenly the 50ft cliff from which you have just jumped seems more than 100ft, but you have done it. To get out, you must watch the waves and swim to the rocks.
Cliff jumping in Hawaii is a common sport which adrenalin junkies love and which makes you feel free from the cares of the world for those few seconds. Cliff jumping is a sport you must not miss if you have the opportunity. But there are three things you must do when you cliff jump.
Know your ocean…
The last thing you want is to get lost in the current when under the water. Always jump when the tide is high and make sure you jump as far out and away from the rocks as possible. Only jump somewhere if you have been told that it is safe, especially in Hawaii as there are many places with hidden underwater caves.
Never look down…
The worst thing you can do is look down when entering the water. Not only does it increase your nervousness but it also hurts your face when you hit the water. The first few times I jumped I was looking down and it felt like I had been slapped across the face with a wet towel. Avoid looking down at all costs. Plus, if you look straight ahead you can appreciate the scenery in which you are jumping.
Jump with passion…
Enjoy that moment when you launch yourself off a cliff and free fall through the air, even if your heart does skip a beat. Enjoy making friends with other cliff jumpers at the top of the cliff. Most of all, relish the refreshing achievement you feel when you surface from your first jump and all you want to do is jump again.
Top spots to jump on Oahu
1. La’ie point, North Shore
2. Waimea Bay, North Shore
3. China Walls, Hanapep
4. Ice Ponds, Kalihi
5. Muanawili Falls, Kailua
Scaling mountain ridges
The first few steps of any hike are the steps that immerse you into nature in its purest form, and when you can gauge what a trek may be like. Or what you think a trek may be like. The start of many trails can be very deceiving and Hawaii sure does have many deceiving trails. Over my three months in Hawaii I hiked some pretty cool mountains, some during the day and others at night.
A few things that you must do when hiking in Hawaii are as follows:
Wear suitable shoes…
Nothing is more awful than wearing the wrong type of shoes. You need steady trainers with a good grip. Yes, I may sound like your mother but my trainers saved my life on Olomana 3 peaks, when I was hanging from a thin rope, with my foot gripped in a crevasse. I also appreciated the fact that you need good shoes when I had to trek the stairway to heaven.
Take water and snacks…
Take double the amount of water you need. Running out of water before your half way point is not the best situation when on a hike. Don’t worry about needing the toilet because I can assure you that you will sweat it out instead. Hydration is key. Eat a plate of whole wheat carbohydrates a couple of hours before you start the hike and take some trekking friendly snacks with you. The best trekking food is trail mix (salty nuts and raisins with chocolate M&Ms) and snickers.
Enjoy the scenery…
Puffing and huffing all the way to the top makes it hard to stop and look around at where you are. Make sure you take regular breaks to appreciate this beautiful world we live in. It doesn’t matter if you take twice as long as is expected because the whole reason that you trek a mountain is to see the world at peace, and peace has no time limit.
Olomana Three Peaks, Koko Crater and Stairway to Heaven were the best treks that I did in Hawaii. All are situated on Oahu. Koko Crater and Stairway to Heaven are old military training grounds which mean they are not easy. However nothing worth doing comes easily.
I climbed Koko Crater at night with a full moon in the sky; this only took 25 minutes, but they were certainly the hardest 25 minutes of my day. Stairway to Heaven took an hour to get up and an hour to get down and consisted of over 4000 stairs, which at times become a ladder on an overhanging cliff.
Olomana Three Peaks was the most thrilling. Climbing up and over the three peaks, at times having to balance on the ridge of the mountain and at other times having to pull yourself up and over a rock overhang, is certainly an experience.
Thrilling treks on Oahu
2.Olomana Three Peaks
3.Stairway to Heaven
4. Diamond Head
5. Wa’ahila Ridge Trail
Adventure sports are undeniably one of the best ways to increase the adrenalin and blood flow while travelling in Hawaii. Take every change, drop every fear and I promise you, you will have experiences of a lifetime and some winning stories to share with your friends.