By Virginia Beck

Aloha at Hanalei Bay

Did you know how big a splash your arrival on this island makes? A surprisingly big one in our tiny little pond. The pond of the island is impacted by each person, each car and each object that arrives. Bigger rocks displace more water, raising the water level for the folks here.

Kaua‘i is an amazing place, one of the most remote and isolated islands on the planet. It is a primeval jewel among the crown jewels of the Earth. To even be here is a privilege granted to few. If you were born here, you are even more special, as you are the future guardians and stewards of this global treasure.

While not yet on UNESCO’s list of world heritage sites, it will be. The Native Hawaiian culture had a history of preservation of the watersheds, the lands and the fish. Those cultural practices are universal in island cultures because limited resources are shared with all, including future generations.

Apart from the escape to a tropical hideaway, luxurious or simple, you are stepping into not just a 5-million-year-old ecological miracle and a treasury of plants, people, foods, cultures and customs, but a sanctuary for those who live here. Your visit is a pilgrimage to the beauty of the planet, when we respect it.

We regard our island as a living, breathing, manifestation of the infinite power of creation to live, prosper and nurture us. Not just with food, beauty and the warm companionship of our extended families and community, but as sacred and loaned to us for our use. Something we must preserve, intact for the future generations.

Your arrival, whether by plane or by birth leaves a huge footprint. It changes everything.

All the issues of global life exist here, but you only need to pay attention to the things you bring or leave behind you. This is why our community strives to eliminate plastics, harmful pesticides and other toxic products from our ocean and our water, so the land and the coral reefs are not destroyed.

We love that you love our island, and we want you to enjoy yourself to the fullest. Splash in the ocean, the rivers, the pools that abound at resorts. Dive deep for snorkeling, scuba or take boating tours up rivers, along the coast, watch dolphins and flying fish play, and in winter, see the whales.

Learn about culture from the fascinating cultural experiences offered by resorts, museums and the community. Our community has much to teach the global traveler. The people here are a working model of how different ethnic groups can work together to preserve and advance the whole community. Visit Farmers Markets for the flavors of Kaua‘i.

Most of all, be aware of the people. Those who offer friendly service respond with smiles and aloha. Try to tip generously, as the cost of living here is almost the same as Silicon Valley.

Nearly everything is imported, including much of the food, and especially bottled water. This raises the prices and the carbon footprint for everyone. Please consider buying an attractive souvenir water bottle and skip the plastics.

Some hotels, such as the Grand Hyatt Regency in Po‘ipu, have installed special water fountains that allow you to refill your bottles with filtered water. (I wish someone would donate them to all the schools and the airports!) If you do this, you will help prevent hundreds of thousands of plastic bottles from reaching our bursting landfills.

Now that China has stopped accepting plastics for recycling, we are stuck in a tiny boat that will eventually overflow into the sea, where a growing plastics issue is a problem for the planet.

Enjoy knowing that the difference you make is a positive one. Live “pono.” This means, in such a way that a harmonious balance and a sense of pleasure in your enjoyment are enhanced for all.

Aloha makes us great. Mahalo nui loa — a handy phrase you can use everywhere to thank everyone, and they will smile and wish you well.

  • Virginia Beck, NP and Certified Trager® Practitioner, offers Wellness Consultation, Trager Psychophysical Integration and teaches Malama Birth Training classes. She can be reached at 635-5618

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