It's been an amazing week. Friday to Friday, we spent a lovely seven days in Oahu. Plenty of relaxation, but lots of exciting events as well.
In a moment of insanity, I found the courage to go skydiving. I purposely booked it for earlier in the week because I wanted to get it out of the way. Surprisingly, I wasn't scared. Not until the moment when my instructor told me to head towards the door of the plane at 14,000 feet. Yep, I had just enough time to think, "What the hell am I doing?" and I was out the door. No time to react - we were out and free falling. It was surreal. I just remember feeling extremely cold, and the photographer waving to me, and me waving back. I think the free fall was for about a minute and then the parachute was deployed.
My instructor, Dan, was awesome. He let me "steer" by pulling on the cables and we did a couple of spirals. It was crazy. Before I knew it, the ground was coming towards us and my feet were on the blessed ground again. This was one big thing off my bucket list.
Another incredible thing off my list was swimming with the dolphins. Honestly, I think I was more excited about this than the skydiving. All my life, I had never been the lucky little girl who was chosen to pet the killer whale or to pose with the sea lions at those marine parks. This trip, my dream came true. We got into a lagoon (albeit man-made, at a hotel) and had the ultimate dolphin encounter for 30 full minutes. Almost the entire time, we were touching, feeding, playing with, and learning about these wonderful creatures. Ultimately, I got my wish, a picture of me kissing a dolphin. I was in love. The most amazing moment was when I was posing with my husband with the dolphin and we both had our hands underneath him - we felt that strong heartbeat. I can't even describe how powerful it was feeling that pulse.
This trip also gave us the opportunity to visit the USS Arizona Memorial, which we missed during our last trip to Oahu six years ago. Sure we all studied WWII in school, but nothing brings it home to you like this. I didn't know what to expect, but I certainly didn't think it would affect me like this. The memorial and the entire park is so well done. Very respectful. Very moving. The day we visited, there were four survivors of the USS Arizona signing autographs. My heart went out to them. It's hard to imagine anyone having to live through the horror they witnessed back in 1941. We payed our respects at the USS Arizona memorial, and also toured through the Battleship Missouri and USS Bowfin submarine.
Aside from a lot of eating, we did one last 'fun' adventure. Whale watching! Not five minutes out of the dock, our boat came across a mother and her calf. It was awesome!!! Never thought we'd see something so quickly, but then it's lucky that we saw them, because we didn't encounter any other whales in the two hour ride.
Seven days and a lot of pounds later, we're home. Lots of experiences that we will never forget, and planning more for the next time we get to head back to Oahu.