The couple lands at the Kona International Airport. Taylor has a plan to propose to his girlfriend of eight months. He knows he must take her to the hottest place on earth where neither lover has been before. This one is not like his first wife who hounded him daily for leaving shoes in the entryway and pressured him to climb the corporate ladder to no avail.
As they exit the stairs from Aloha Airlines, Taylor dreams, “This one is more like Pele whose veins warm the earth to her core, whose arms embrace me with molten magma, and whose fingers steam at the touch of the Pacific waters!” They proceed to the baggage claim and retrieve their suitcases. Taylor leads them to a long line for a rental car. He walks over to the marketing pamphlets stacked up against the wall where visitors search for tourist attractions and endless activities. He grabs a thick pamphlet and takes it to his girlfriend, “Lana, since we’re going to be here for a few days, try and find a few activities for us. I’m going to check on getting a Jeep.” While Lana browses the tracts, Taylor walks around the corner where he can’t be overheard. He approaches a local guy behind the desk of the jeep rental line, “Hey, I have a question for you. I want to take my lady to the place where the lava flows to the ocean. “The local guy replies, “Ah, you mean Kilauea, where da lava flows in the ocean by Kalapana, or into Kapoho Bay?” Taylor’s eyes widen, “yeah, I think that’s the spot. The desk clerk continues, “Da way I see it, brah, is you can go by land, or you can go by sea.” Taylor’s right eye squints upward, “I see, what is the hike like to get there by foot?” “Ho, brah, it’s like a long two-mile hike and you get da vog… you know, da kine volcanic fog, it can get thick, and sting your eyes."
The local clerk warns, “Your lady not gone like da vog, braddah, you might try to go by boat and go down to Kalapana, and into Kapoho Bay, it’s unreal, you gone blow her mind!” Taylor likes this idea and asks the clerk more questions, “Where do I go to sign up?” The local replies, “Try Lava Boat Trips,” They have an aluminum boat and can take out like ten people per journey. It’s unreal.”
What would you do? Weave through dangerous billows of volcanic fog or brave the molten sea in an aluminum boat with boiling water surrounding you?
Taylor envisions them walking across super-hot lava rocks while the soles of their shoes melt, sticking to the rugged terrain. Lana may like the tactile touch of the young hot earth but what about the catatonic smell of sulfuric acid sizzling all around her? On the other hand, she may appreciate a romantic boat ride along the wild and unpredictable Kalapana coastline. Whichever way he chose would have its drawbacks. The boat ride seems scarier with the potential of getting lost at sea or capsizing, but the smoky hike seems harsh and uncomfortable. If anyone could handle hiking in the vog, it was Lana, as she has fought many fires in both houses and in forest lands. She’s been working as a firefighter for fifteen years in which five of those were fighting wildland California state fires. She is obsessed with fire-its bright color, mystery, and power. Because of her experience managing fire and its destructive effects, Taylor must top it-he has to present her with the ultimate fire experience. Taylor knows he must be comfortable when he asks this woman to marry him, so he chooses the boat trip and calls to schedule a Lava Boat tour for day number two of their getaway. He returns to his fiancé standing in line. “Lana, pick an activity tomorrow because I have plans for us on Thursday.” Her curiosity peaks, “Oh yeah, sounds cool and mysterious. I’ve been reading about the Humuhumu triggerfish that can swim through hot water and warm vents. Have you heard of that one?" Taylor laughs, “Humu-humu-unuku-unuku-apuaa. It’s the Hawaii state fish.”
Lana chuckles, “I read an interesting legend about how this fish represented a Hawaiian leader who was piglike, had a snout and was sneaky in his shape-shifting ways. One day he met Pele in all her fiery boldness. She had steam billowing off her hair and the water around her was boiling to the touch. He fell in love with her and asked her to marry him. Soon thereafter, she realized he was too piglike and snidely, so she condemned him to the underworld where he turned into a colorful triggerfish that roams the islands today.” At this moment Taylor is reassured he is making the right decision to propose via boat ride. Now, he must figure out how to deliver the proposal and put the ring on her finger.
How would you do it?
That morning they wake up early and brew some Kona coffee. They scoop up some papaya with granola and yogurt and a squirt of lemon and enjoyed a nice breakfast. On the way to Pahoa, they stop and swim in the volcanic pools nestled in the lava rocks. They arrive at the park where the boat ride begins. The captain is hosing down his boat and checking all the parts to make sure it is in full working conditions. Lana tells Taylor, “I am going to use the bathroom.” She walks over to the restrooms at the park.
Taylor seizes an opportunity to ask the captain about an idea he has. "Hey captain, we are scheduled to go on a boat ride with you at 7:00 pm, I am wondering how I can surprise my girlfriend with a marriage proposal on the ride?" The salt-crusted man in his late forties drops the hose and smiles…I got one for you brah that will blow her mind. I have always wanted someone to be brave enough to try it but have had no takers.”
Taylor steps closer blazing with curiosity, “Tell me more!” The captain chuckles a bit and says, ok, I must reveal one of our surprises that you may like for your proposal…, you promise not to tell anyone aboard the ship? Taylor obliges, "for sure, captain.” The captain continues, “we dip a bucket into the 120-degree ocean water and pull it up for our tourists to feel once we get to the lava pouring in the ocean.” Taylor leans in closer, and the captain suggests, “I will drop the ring in the bucket after I pull it from the ocean, but you must encourage your girlfriend to be the volunteer to test the waters if you will?” Taylor agrees, “she will for sure. She is brave and adventuresome. Oh, no, here she comes.” Taylor hands the captain the ring, the captain nods agreeing to a plan that will seal Taylor’s fate in marriage.
The boat launches at 7:00 pm under a starry night sky. The tour motors up and down over the vast ocean next to the largest mountains in the world if you measure it from the seafloor to the top of the island mountain. They gaze at the sky and sea when they notice a large ember-like vein slithering into the ocean. Steam sizzles above the glowing orange vein flowing from the landmass of Hawaii. As the boat approaches the lava flowing into the ocean the captain announces, “We are going to drift here for a while, who would like to test the waters for us and do a temperature check?” The captain slyly reaches into his pocket while the deckhand is dropping the bucket into the water when suddenly Taylor spots the ring flying across the boat deck and hears a small “thud” sound. He lunges to pick it up and raises his hand up to volunteer all in one fell swoop. "Wow, it feels like a hot jacuzzi, wait, what is this? I feel something in here!” Taylor lifts the ring out of the water and holds it up, “Lana, will you marry me?” Acting surprised, the crew cheers and Lana says, “yes” but Taylor can’t hear her under the roar of the crowd!